Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System
How a Canal Lock Works
Canal boat enters lock chamber
Gates close behind boat
To lower boat: sluices opened in downstream gate to let water out
To raise boat: sluices opened in upstream gate to let water in
Gates opened allowing boat to float out to new level
Canal Boats of the Rappahannock
Construction: shallow-draft barges made of oak, known as Batteaux
Size: up to 65 ft long and 9 ft, 9 in wide
Cargo: corn, oats, wheat, salt fish, fertilizer, whiskey, lumber, and household goods
Propulsion: poles and oars
Crew: typically two men
Capacity: up to 2 tons
1792 The Rappahannock Navigation
1816 The Rappahannock Navigation Co. public stock sale is held but construction does not begin at this time because of financial constraints.
1829-1844 Residents of Fredericksburg come to the aid of the project when a chronic shortage of money allows for only parts of the canal system to be completed.
1829 Fredericksburg City Council raises enough capitol to commence the project and parade through the City is held to kick off excavation.
1845-1849 The Virginia legislature approves another loan for the canal and the system is completed.
1852 The end of the canal era is imminent with the competition from more efficient roads and railways.
1853 System is turned over to two farmers in hopes that they would maintain it, but the canal eventually ends up in ruins.
1855 Fredericksburg Water Power Co. buys the assets and converts the canal section in Fredericksburg from transportation to supplying power for mills.
Porch's Lock (Lock 5) Like many of the locks along the navigation system, Porch's Lock remains in excellent condition. this stone lock is located below Scott's Dam approximately 5 miles upstream from Mott's Run Landing.
Location. 38° 18.823′ N, 77° 32.445′ W. Marker is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from River Road 1½ miles west of Bragg Road, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located at the Public Boat Landing. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22404, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fraternizing at the Ford (approx. ¾ mile away); 15th Reg’t. N. J. Vol’s (approx. 1.7 miles away); 23rd Regt., N. J. Vols. (approx. 1.8 miles away); Battle of Salem Church (approx. 1.8 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Salem Church (approx. 1.8 miles away); a different marker also named The Battle of Salem Church (approx. 1.8 miles away); From Church to Hospital (approx. 1.8 miles away); Refuge from Horror (approx. 1.8 miles away).
Categories. • Agriculture • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Waterways & Vessels •
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 28, 2009, by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,148 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on February 28, 2009, by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia. 15, 16. submitted on March 25, 2009, by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.